The right wines for Slim Jims, doughnuts and Spaghetti-Os
July 2nd, 2011
12:45 AM ET
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Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant - and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray. And for curious folks – these are doughnuts we gobbled down one morning from Sublime Doughnuts in Atlanta, Georgia.

Yes, we all ought to be eating our locally-sourced, free-range, antibiotic-free, Mangalitsa porkchops or whatever, but sometimes, you know, you just want a Frito. Particularly if you’re doing something like watching a ball game on TV, or taking a break from hurling a Frisbee around a park.

However, just because your cravings currently extend to chips, chicharrones, or Chung King noodles from a can doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a tasty glass of wine alongside. Here are a few off-the-wall (or off-the-convenience-store-rack) pairing suggestions.

Potato Chips
Or French fries, or Tater Tots—basically any kind of fried potato object with lots of salt. Go crazy: drink Champagne. The stuff was made for salty fried foods, whether the Champenoise want to admit it or not. (If real Champagne is too pricey, head to Spain for Cava.)

Look, I don’t drink wine with doughnuts, but that doesn’t mean there’s not some madman out there cruising the streets at midnight, wondering what the heck will go with his bagful of Krispy Kremes. If you’re that person, the answer is sparkling wine that’s sweet. (Note: The same holds true for wedding cake, too.) Sugary pastries and cakes make dry sparkling wine taste like lemon juice. Go for a demi-sec Champagne, or the American equivalent thereof.

Slim Jims
Don’t even ask what these things are made from, but if you’re eating them and craving a glass of wine—or really if you’re eating any kind of dry sausage or charcuterie—go red. In fact, go red and Mediterranean. Spicy Sicilian Nero d’Avolas, ripe red blends from France’s Languedoc-Roussillon, and Monstrells from Spain’s southeastern coast are all great possibilities.

Seems like red wine would be the answer, but when’s the last time you had Spaghetti-Os? Those things are sweet. So a crisp white wine is actually going to be the better pairing, for instance a Vermentino or Soave from Italy (because, um, Spaghetti-Os are Italian. Er, right?) It’s the same rule-of-pairing-thumb that applies to Asian dishes that have a bit of sweetness, akin to squeezing lime juice on Pad Thai; match them with a white that has good acidity.

Deep-Fried Mars Bar
It’s a Scottish thing. Not really ideal for wine. I’d say if you’re self-destructive enough to eat deep-fried candy bars, go ahead and break out the Johnnie Walker with them. What have you got to lose, really?

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© 2011 American Express Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.

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Filed under: Content Partner • Food and Wine • Junk • Sip • Wine

soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. Evil Grin

    I'd pair a blush wine with a raspberry jelly doughnut. Agree about reds with slim jims, though they'd have to be very smooth.

    July 6, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
  2. Susie Q

    This is embarassing! To think that there are real wine afficionados out there that would like real advice...or a job at Food & Wine.

    July 6, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • Matt

      WTH is your point?

      July 6, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
  3. Carnie Vore

    Wow, some of you people really need to lighten the heck up. I recommend that you reach behind your back, several inches below your waist. Feel around until you find a slim, cylindrical, wooden object. This is a stick. Grasp it firmly and pull until it is all of the way out of your a$$.

    July 5, 2011 at 4:31 am |

    Here you go

    July 4, 2011 at 9:43 am |
  5. Randall

    OMG! This could only happen in America!

    July 4, 2011 at 9:41 am |
  6. Anthony

    I'd also like to add that Moscatos go great with buttered popcorn. :) Seriously.

    July 4, 2011 at 6:11 am |
  7. marc

    Funny stuff. I like the fried mars bar recommendation, and I will say that I may have to try some frites and a dry glass of Cava this weekend! Happy 4th!

    July 3, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  8. Kim

    The pastry chef/owner-operated Sublime Donuts in Atlanta demand nothing less than homebrew beer. The selection depends on the season...a crisp, light, fruity beer in the hot months, a dark, rich, chocolatey beer in winter. Barring homebrew, then hard apple cider. Wine? Well, make it locally and it might do. By the way, high quality, hand made stuff is NOT junk food.

    July 3, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
  9. Georgiabirdgirl

    This picture of a heavenly box of donuts from Atlanta's Sublime Donuts caught my attention. I personally wouldn't drink wine with them, but I'd imagine that just about anything is tasty with one of these treats...especially the strawberries and cream one.

    July 2, 2011 at 10:29 pm |
  10. Beth

    He was having fun, people Get a grip!

    July 2, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
  11. jaime

    I noticed the doughnuts shown are from Sublime! The best in the world! (not Krispy Kremes mentioned previously in the article) A nice wine would pair well with their frosted croissants. mmm But, only once in a great while.

    July 2, 2011 at 10:00 pm |
  12. Annie

    I loved this article! It was different, but fun nonetheless!

    July 2, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
  13. mejazzbo

    Pairing addictions don't sound like a good idea to me. Why didn't you throw in slot machines into the mix.

    July 2, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
    • Frank'n'beans

      or boobies

      July 2, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
  14. John J

    This can not be a serious article. Worthless. Author should be ashamed of himself.

    July 2, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
  15. Rozelle

    I mix Wal Mart Oak Leaf (red or merlot) with V8 Fusion Light, thus getting my veggies too. And it's only $2.97 a bottle for the wine.

    July 2, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
  16. weak

    Wine is for pussies.

    July 2, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • Goober Grape

      Sure .... as long as you don't get any on the sheets ....

      July 3, 2011 at 8:43 am |
    • Stew Pedassle@weak

      Now THAT'S a good pairing.

      July 3, 2011 at 8:43 am |
  17. Jay

    Try the chocolate glaze donut from 7-eleven and grab yourself the cabernet called BONTERRA from Trader Joes. It's an organic wine and it is quite surprising how amazing they compliment each other.

    July 2, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
  18. Jessica

    I can hear the French laughing at us from here. We're going to pass them in consumption and American-ize it at the same time! Donuts and wine, really? Ew.

    July 2, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
  19. Justin

    Wine doesn't always have to be so serious!! Lighten up, people.

    July 2, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
  20. American Citizen


    July 2, 2011 at 6:50 pm |
  21. Ravenlynne

    To the poster who wanted to know the wine to pair with PB&J....I can't say for sure. But I can tell you that these sandwiches go great with beer. (Hey, it's all that was in my fridge and I was thirsty.)

    July 2, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  22. Jessica

    Self destructive enough to eat deep fried candy bars...well...actually, the deep fried isn't ideal, I agree, but a Mars bar is probably a whole lot better than a slim gim, potato chips and without a doubt better than a doughnut.

    July 2, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  23. DubYaTeeEff!

    Seriously? You're worrying about what wine to pair with your garbage food? How about you save the money you spent on the wine to pair with your Top Ramen and spend that on something other than dog food? THEN maybe you'll have something worthing pairing wine with. I think it's hilarious that CNN is embracing Recession Chic instead of encouraging people to be frugal and spend money on things that matter.... Not a proper wine to go with my Pringles.

    July 2, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
  24. Erlinda

    BTW – Where is that donut shop? Hope it's in NYC.

    July 2, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • it's sublime

      the doughnuts are from sublime and since you're in NYC, don't let anyone tell you that the Donut Plant has the best donuts anywhere because Sublime is truly sublime and Donut Plant is a waste of traipsing through the LES.

      July 2, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
    • Kat Kinsman

      Atlanta. I live in NYC, but my bosses are in Atlanta and I go willingly. They are indeed Sublime Doughnuts.

      July 3, 2011 at 12:40 am |
      • Amy

        Kat, please make sure Sublime Doughnuts gets a photo credit.

        July 3, 2011 at 8:36 am |
  25. Erlinda

    Sorry about all you who hate this article. I thought it was hilarious! I am glad I am sitting alone because what started as a grin got bigger and bigger until it was a HUGE guffaw! My only disappointment is that the article did not include the best wine to go with a peanutbutter and jelly sandwich. There is a website that suggests wine pairings, and their choice is a tawny port. I prefer a Malbec. Lotsa grapes! YUM!!!

    July 2, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • SippingNow

      Too funny. We were drinking a Malbec one night and PBJ came to mind. It was an awesome pairing!

      July 2, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
    • Goober Grape

      Mmmm, pb&j – grape j, too! LOL

      I was hoping to find out if there was a wine to pair up with a fudgesicle. :)

      July 3, 2011 at 8:42 am |
  26. CalgarySandy

    Sometimes I think what is wrong with America is the fact that so many do not get humor. Imagine going on a rant over this! Oh, yeah. People did go on a rant! The title of the article alone made me laugh and want more. Thank you. This was priceless.

    July 2, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • Donna Jarzen

      Thank you!!! I totally agree.

      July 2, 2011 at 7:58 pm |
    • Aurora

      No doubt, it's all in good fun. I had a chuckle. How was this hurting anybody? The people that were ranting about how horrible this article was need to get a grip.

      July 3, 2011 at 12:39 am |
    • Stew Pedassle

      Agreed. Makes you wonder if they have a sense of humor about anything, doesn't it? ;)

      To the haters, there's a clinic where you can have your sense-of-humorectomy reversed. Just look for the sign that says "STFU Cafe," walk in and have a seat. They'll be right with you.

      July 3, 2011 at 8:36 am |
    • MNinGA

      LOL I just posted a reply above saying the same thing! I got a laugh reading it, to me that's entertainment value and worth reading.

      July 3, 2011 at 9:43 am |
  27. PJ

    I would have guessed "Boones Farm" for all of them.

    July 2, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • Mary J

      Or wine-in-a-box if you're feeling real fancy.

      July 2, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • Aurora

      Guess that's a cut above Cisco, which is what I was thinking! That or Mad Dog 20/20.

      July 3, 2011 at 12:37 am |
  28. kay

    What a completely asinine article. No wonder America is the fattest country, no wonder people are getting stupider by the year. Thanks for the insights, you clearly have too much time on your hands. Well done.

    July 2, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • See

      You read the title, clicked on the link, read the article, and then took the time to compose a reply.

      July 2, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
      • Frank'n'beans

        That's what I was gonna say! Get a grip people!

        July 2, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
      • kay

        blame me for pointing out something soul-crushingly stupid, blame me for pointing out that the author wasted his time and abused his responsibility as a component of a national news outlet. good to see you have your priorities straight, too.

        July 2, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
    • AM

      @See – I see your type of comment all the time or the "well clearly you do care cuz you took the time to read the article and comment. Where did you get this idea that people only click/comment on articles they like/agree with. I completely agree with Kate and yes I'm taking the time to comment on how ridiculous this article is. And I suppose you're a huge fan of this article or have nothing better to do than to copy/paste your sad pathetic comment. See I'm even wasting my time to tear you to shreds.

      July 2, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  29. Poor.But.Want.Doughnuts

    I hate you

    July 2, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  30. Scot Gal

    Just an FYI, in case you want to indulge...those deep fried Mars Bars are actually Snickers bars. Just a different name across the pond.

    July 2, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • LO

      More like Milky Way bars in the US.

      July 2, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  31. Jeepers

    This is the dumbest sh!t I've ever read.

    July 2, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • I am pretty forgiving about eat articles

      and in this case I agree with you, new low

      July 2, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • AM

      This is an abomination. What an insult to wine.

      July 2, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
      • Fly Guy in SJ

        I dunno, AM, I've had some pretty low-down wine. If you're ever in Vietnam, *do not* drink Vang Dalat wine. If you do, you'll quickly be saying to yourself "Y'know, self, Two Buck Chuck is actually pretty good!" No, not kidding. Yes, serious. It's that bad. Of course, Chuck's white zin is actually pretty good, very fruity and sweeter than most. I mean, hey, it's white zin, and if you're paying more than 2 bucks a bottle, you're probably overpaying.

        July 2, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • See

      Go eat your brie and leave the rest of us to our sour neon gummy worms and Moscato.

      July 2, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • AM

      If you want to eat Junk Food drink Beer or Four Loko or any bottle of wine you have at home. The idea of methodically trying to pair a wine with chips, candy, and fried concoctions is just ridiculous. Ray must have been stoned out of his mind writing this. It amazes me what people get paid for.

      July 2, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
      • Chris

        Got to love the uneducated wine snobs that somehow think wine is sophisticated and beer is low brow. When it comes down to it wine is just diluted rotten fruit and any changes between batches (ie. poor process control) is called "Character". Beer on the other hand requires expertise throughout the entire process and is much less forgiving of poor quality. Add to that the wide variety of beer styles I would argue that wine is the poor cousin to beer!

        July 2, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • MNinGA

      Wow, is everyone's humor broken today? Am I the only one who laughed at the paring with a Deep Fried Mars Bar? I guess "tongue in cheek" is foreign to some people. ;-)
      I need to make a trip up to Sublime soon, they'll even beat a fresh, warm KK any day of the week!

      July 3, 2011 at 9:40 am |
      • MNinGA

        *pairing I typo when I giggle

        July 3, 2011 at 9:49 am |
      • LAS

        I totally agree...this is clearly meant to be a fun blurb! I personally appreciate articles that are brain candy like this to break up all of the horrific, depressing, pathetic, etc. news that we read and see all day!
        RELAX, people!!

        July 5, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  32. David H.

    That article's picture looks like a box of doughnuts from Sublime Doughnuts in Atlanta. The A-Town Cream, Smores and Red Velvet are pretty distinctive looking.

    July 2, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Ravenlynne

      The twisted one looks absolutely revolting.

      July 2, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
      • JohnDorian

        Wait, "revolting"? I think you mistyped the word slightly; the proper spelling is, "delectable". Only a few characters off. Not to worry, no one reads 5@5 anymore except degenerates.

        Thank you for this list, CNN. I've always wondered how to pair my junk food with the right wine!

        July 2, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
      • Joe in Pittsburgh

        Can't disagree more! Although I have only had maybe a half-dozen doughnuts in the last 20 years, I have fond memories of eating those twisty morsels (what my parents called "cruellers" (sp?)) ever third or fourth Sunday growing up.


        July 2, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
      • Chuckles

        They are from Sublime in Atlanta. Best I have ever had. The twisted one is a Yin Yang, and it is actually pretty amazing. Nothing however beats the strawberry and cream. powdered sliced open, with fresh sliced strawberries and cream inside. A little sad they used their picture, but gave a shout out to KK in the article. Didn't even give a credit under the picture. Going to head to Sublime this morning, can't look at that pic and not.

        July 3, 2011 at 7:52 am |
    • Kat Kinsman

      Well spotted! Eatocracy is based in NYC, but I pop down to Atlanta pretty often. My boss and I had our last Serious Departmental Meeting at Sublime on account of deliciousness.

      July 2, 2011 at 8:34 pm |
      • Chuckles

        So then why not give them a credit anywhere?

        July 3, 2011 at 7:53 am |
  33. Vinformative

    Disagree about the SlimJim pairing. An off-dry German or Alsatian riesling would tone down the peppery spiciness, whereas a spicy red from Italy would only accentuate it. Also, Monstrells should be Monastrells.

    July 2, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • joe

      never tasted a wine i liked

      July 2, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
      • alcoholthenarcotic org

        Meh, I don't drink drugs either...but what's up with CNN promoting drug use with junk food?

        I wonder how much the wine industry pays this shill to advertise their addictive drug products?

        I am sure CNN would give my org equal time...yeah right!

        Write me CNN, I'll rip alcohol a new sure needs a "new one"...

        July 2, 2011 at 8:17 pm |
      • alcoholthenarcotic org

        Oops, meant site to be


        September 4, 2011 at 12:44 pm |
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